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Kernstown 1st Kernstown (March 23,1862) 2nd Kernstown (July 24,1864) by Revolution Games  These two batt...

Kernstown: 1st Kernstown (March 23,1862) 2nd Kernstown (July 24,1864) by Revolurion Games Kernstown: 1st Kernstown (March 23,1862) 2nd Kernstown (July 24,1864) by Revolurion Games

Kernstown: 1st Kernstown (March 23,1862) 2nd Kernstown (July 24,1864) by Revolurion Games

Kernstown: 1st Kernstown (March 23,1862) 2nd Kernstown (July 24,1864) by Revolurion Games





Kernstown

1st Kernstown (March 23,1862) 2nd Kernstown (July 24,1864)

by

Revolution Games






 These two battles were fought more than two years apart, but they have a lot in common. Both were fought because Confederate troops were trying to tie up the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley. The Confederates were also trying to put enough fear into Washington to bring back Union troops outside of Richmond. In 1862 McClellan was trying to take Richmond, and in 1864 it was Grant's turn. In the 1st battle of Kernstown it was Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson in charge of the small Confederate Army. At the 2nd Battle of Kernstown it was Jubal Early's (Per Lee: "His bad old man") turn to take command. The first battle is one of the few blots on Jackson's record. It was a tactical defeat for Jackson who unknowingly attacked a force about twice the size of his. The second battle saw Jubal Early triumphant on his way north through the valley to put a good scare into Federal authorities. Oddly enough, Union General George Crook played the part of Jackson at the second battle. He also believed he was facing a smaller force. As a side note: Richard Garnett, one of the commanders under Jackson at 1st Kernstown, was accused by him of 'neglect of duty' essentially cowardice in Garnett's eyes. Whether through physical constraint or to clear his name, or both, Garnett was the only officer that was on horseback during Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. Miraculously, he was within twenty yards of the Union lines before he was shot down. So, you can see that we get a two-fer here as far as battles. This is what comes in the box:

- 22x34" map
- 2 x 5/8" counter-sheets (352 counters)
- Rulebooklet
- 5 charts/playeraids
- Box or ziploc bag
- 2 dice (Boxed version only)



The game info per Revolution Games:

Complexity: 6 out of 10
Solitaire Suitability: 6 out of 10
Time Scale: 20 minute turns
Map Scale: 150 yards per hex
Unit Scale: regimental
Players: one to two, best with two
Playing Time: three to ten hours depending on scenario







 The map is beautiful and is done by Rick Barber, whose style has graced more than a few Civil War battle games. The hexes on the map represent roughly 140 yards across. Terrain level is divided into thirteen levels, each one of twenty-five feet. The lowest levels of the map are in the darkest color of green. The highest levels are in yellow. All you have to do is look online to see how many people really like this style of map. The counters are 5/8" so they are nice and large. They are very well done with pictures of the leaders on their counters. The combat units show the outline of their recruitment state. There are five Players' Aids; three are in full color and two are black and white. The Union and Confederate Player  each have their own Players' Aid card, and there is one for the Turn Record Chart and eliminated Units etc. The other two full color  Players' Aid cards are for the CRT and terrain, among other charts and tables. I have reviewed both 'Longstreet Attacks' and 'Konigsberg' from Revolution Games, so I am used to their attention to detail and their very well done artwork.







 This is the game's Sequence of Play:



1. COMMAND DECISION PHASE 
 a. Both players choose event chits and set up draw cup
2. ARTILLERY PHASE
 a. Union Artillery Step (move or fire)
 b. Confederate Artillery Step (move or fire)
 c. Both sides alternate “a” and “b” above until done
 d. Artillery Rally/Rebuild Step
3. CHIT DRAW PHASE
 a. Held Event Chit Step (play any held events)
 b. Draw Chit Step 
   If Event chit, owning player keeps it or plays it, draw new chit  If Wild chit, resolve immediately, draw new chit 
   If CIC chit, owning player selects brigade and proceeds to Phase 4 or holds the chit 
   If Division Activation chit, proceed to Phase 4
4. BRIGADE ACTIVATION PHASE
 a. Orders Step
 b. Fire Combat Step
 c. Movement Step
 d. Close Combat Step
 e. Rally Step
 f. If any chits remain in the cup, return to Phase 3.
 g. If no chits remain in the cup, go to Phase 5
5. END TURN PHASE
 a. Final Held Event Chit Step
 b. Victory Point Awards Step
 c. Flip over all “Activated” brigade markers to their “Available”   side
 d. Broken Track Adjustment step
 e. Each player gathers all his Event chits together and then   advances the Game Turn marker




 The game uses the 'Blind Swords' chit-pull system for play. The system emphasizes the three 'FOWs': fog-of-war, friction-of-war, and fortunes-of-war. Once again, I really like the system in any of the games that I have played that uses it. 

 The game comes with six scenarios, with two being 'what-ifs' of each battle. The scenarios are:

The Stone Wall - 1st Kernstown
The Historical Battle - 1st Kernstown
Jackson is aware - 1st Kernstown
Breckenridge Attacks - 2nd Kernstown
Historic 2nd Kernstown
'What If' - 2nd Kernstown





 The simplest way to do this review would be just to say 'Hey, its the Blind Sword System, with a Rick Barber map'! That should be enough for people to get out their credit cards, but we will continue with the regularly scheduled review for those of you still on the fence. The 'Blind Sword System' is based on a chit-pull mechanic, but then it goes much farther. The chits that can be pulled are these:


Event Chit
Wild Chit
CIC Chit
Division Activation Chit

 There are two other interesting mechanics in the game. The first is that after you have activated a Brigade you the have to give it 'Orders' for the turn. You have a choice of four types of 'Orders' to give your Brigade. These are:

Attack
Defend
Maneuver
Regroup








 The other somewhat strange mechanic is that Fire Combat takes place before movement.
 Some of the other rules that enhance the game are:


Canister fire for Artillery
Artillery can fire over friendly troops
Close Combat
Cavalry charging
Mounting and dismounting Cavalry
Cohesion Tests
Skedaddle Test


  I am surprised that we do not have a 'Buck and Ball' rule. The Victory Points for all of the scenarios are either control of victory Point hexes, or a combination of casualties and Victory Point hexes.




 As mentioned, the game comes with six scenarios, with two of them being what-ifs if you are so inclined. These are smaller battles, but the game mechanics are involved (which is a good thing). So, game time is rated at 130-480 minutes. Even though the game does not drown you in components, and the map is not large, you will get a large bang for your buck. I really like this game, even though I am so-so on the campaigns themselves. If you are a frequent reader you will know that I love the 'Blind Swords System', so there isn't much to say about that. The two Battles of Kernstown allow a player to deal with all sorts of military challenges. In both battles you can be the underdog or the force with a clear advantage. This game and the different scenarios are great if you have two opponents of differing skills. The system also works very well for solo play. You never know what is coming out of that chit cup. I am a big fan of Revolution Games, and I will have some links to other reviews I have done for them. Thank you Revolution Games for letting me review another of your splendid games.

Revolution Games:
www.revolutiongames.us/

Konigsberg:
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2018/06/konigsberg-by-revolution-games.html

Longstreet Attacks:
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2018/08/longstreet-attacks-by-revolution-games.html

Robert





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